Bob Barker, the energetic game show legend who has provided everyday entertainment for over 50 years Truth or Consequences And The price is correct, has passed away. He was 99.
Barker, who was also celebrated for his animal rights activism and for a hilarious brawl with Adam Sandler in the 1996 golf comedy Happy Gilmoredied of natural causes at his old home in Hollywood Hills, his representative, Roger Neal, confirmed The Hollywood reporter.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Bob Barker, the greatest MC in the world to ever live, has left us,” Neal said in a statement.
After a decade of toiling in radio, Barker was named national television host Truth or Consequences in December 1956 and remained with that program until 1975. He joined a revival of The price is correct in September 1972 and continued to host there until June 2007 Show tonight present Johnny Carson’s record for continuous appearances on the same network TV show.
On both shows with audience participation (op Truth or Consequences, contestants were asked a question, and if they didn’t get the right answer, they had to perform a crazy stunt), Barker has mastered the art of interviewing and taking the fun out of ordinary people.
“So many presenters will ask a question to a contestant and not pay attention to it because they are so busy thinking about what they, the presenter, will say next,” he said in a 2003 interview with the Saint Petersburg Times. “If you ask a question or make a comment and listen, that participant often gives you a little gem to work with.”
Barker collected 15 Emmy Awards, including 12 for hosting. He received a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame five years later.
The Guinness World Records named him television’s most enduring performer and most generous presenter in television history, having handed out an estimated $200 million in awards.
In 1987, Barker stopped coloring his gray hair because of the animal products used in dyes and penalized the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which he hosted, for using fur.
When he arrived as the host of the 1987 Miss USA Pageant, he declined to continue after learning that the contestants would be wearing animal skins. When faux fur was replaced, it generated huge publicity for animal rights activists.
Barker later cut ties with both pageants and soon shut down each edition The price is correct with the line, “Have your pets spayed and neutered.” He donated a total of $3.1 million to his alma mater Drury College/University to establish and support the school’s interdisciplinary Animal Studies Program.
He and longtime girlfriend Nancy Burnet also teamed up to fight for animal rights. “I am so proud of the groundbreaking work Barker and I have done together to expose animal cruelty in the entertainment industry, including improving the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally,” said Burnet in a statement. . “He will be missed.”
Robert Barker was born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington, but grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where his mother was a teacher. After his father died, he and his mother moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he attended high school and then to Drury on a basketball scholarship, where he graduated in 1947. He trained as a fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II.
After his discharge, Barker returned to Springfield, where he worked at radio station KTTS while completing his degree in economics. He read news and sports, and when an employee didn’t show up at the last minute, he did his first audience participation show.
Afterwards, “My wife (Dorothy Jo) said to me, ‘You did that better than anything else,'” Barker recalled in an interview from 2000 for the Television Academy Foundation’s The Interviews website. He had found his calling.
“I did shows from supermarkets, drugstores, from movie theaters, from my own little studio,” he said. “I’ve done man-on-the-street shows where you’re on the street with a handheld microphone – live – and you just talk to whoever comes along. And you have to make it entertaining.”
After spending time on a station in Florida, Barker moved to Los Angeles and hosted there The Bob Barker Show on the radio when Ralph Edwards, the creator and original host of Truth or Consequencesheard him in his car taking his daughters to an ice skating lesson.
Edwards was looking for a host and Barker, then 32, got an audition. He performed for 11 executives and later learned that he only got one vote – “but I got the right one, from Ralph Edwards,” he said.
Edwards called Barker at five minutes past twelve on December 21, 1956, and told him he had the job. (For years, he and Edwards had lunch on that date and toasted their happiness at 12:05 a.m.)
“It’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to me professionally and the best thing that will ever happen,” he said. Truth or Consequences became the No. 1 show on daytime television, then continued in syndication five times a week.
In 1970, Barker gave future Family Feud host Richard Dawson his first game show job (op Happy couple).
While he was busy Truth For nighttime viewing, Barker accepted producer Mark Goodson’s offer to host a daytime show, a new version of The price is correct. He said he would have asked for more money had he known that CBS head Bud Grant would not have bought the show unless Barker was on board.
In 1998, during the filming of the 5,000th episode of The price is correctCBS dedicated Stage 33 in CBS Television City as the Bob Barker Studio.
Barker, who began studying karate with Chuck Norris at the age of 50, gained a new generation of fans when he blows exchanged with Sandler’s hockey player character, his partner in a golf tournament, in Happy Gilmore. (“The price is wrong, bitch,” says Happy after taunting the game show host.)
“No one had heard of Adam Sandler until I beat him up,” Barker joked. He and Sandler won the 1996 MTV Award for Best Fight, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme, among others.
Barker also flirted with a young girl outside of game shows Bonanza in 1960; contributed his voice Family man And Futurama; played Mel Harris’ father in the NBC drama Something so good; and appeared as herself in episodes of The babysitter, Yes my dear And How I met your mother.
Dorothy Jo, whom he married in 1945, died of lung cancer in 1981. Barker never remarried but dated Dian Parkinson, a Price is good model, from 1989-91. She sued the host and the program for sexual harassment (she dropped that lawsuit) and wrongful termination (a judge dismissed that case). Several other former models have also sued Barker and the show.
Barker is survived by his half-brother Kent Valandra, half-cousin Robert Valandra & Chip Valandra, and half-niece Vickie Valandra Kelly.